New York Times best selling author Anne Kidd Taylor uses the familiar structure of the summer romance novel as a jumping off point to explore second chances, familial ties, and the choices women make, in her newest book, the shark club.
Maeve Donnelly was only 12 years old when the black tipped shark tore a hunk out of her leg. 33 stitches were needed to close the gash. And yes, instead of holding on and continuing its deadly business, the shark met her eye and released his hold, ensuring Maeve’s lifelong interest in the mysterious creatures that ply florida’s coastal waters.
Maeve and her twin brother Robin, orphaned after their parents’ plane went down in the everglades, lived with their grandmother Perry – a big-hearted yet practical woman – in her funky beach hotel on the fictional island of Palermo.
It was here that Maeve planned to marry Daniel just as soon as she returned from the shark behavior and conservation reserve in Fiji, where she would be completing work on her dissertation. She and Daniel had been in love since childhood. Yet it never occurred to her that he wouldn’t wait just 10 more weeks. Now 30 years old, Maeve travels the world representing the gulf marine conservancy. A Marine scientist and renowned speaker, she has spent the last 6 months tagging lemon sharks in Bimini along with dive partner Nicolas, an expert on rays, who shares her passion for the sea and all its inhabitants. And though the attraction between them is palpable, Maeve hesitates, still harboring ambivalence about Daniel’s long-ago infidelity, their subsequent beak-up, and the inevitable what-might-have-been’s.
While home for a much needed break, mauve discovers that her grandmother has hired Daniel to be executive chef at the hotel of the muses – an act she sees as a form of betrayal. Forced into daily contact with Daniel and his precocious little girl who shares Maeve’s love for the sea, – Maeve convinces herself that perhaps there are second chances.
Ms. Kidd Taylor, who lives in SWFL, and fashions her island paradise after our own Marco Island, has done a huge service to conservationists everywhere with a fascinating subplot that sheds light on the horrific practice of shark-finning – cutting the fins off sharks for profit, and leaving the bodies behind to drown. She also explores the nature of women’s choices and freedoms through strong female characters; Perry, Maeve, and little Hazel. The Shark Club is much more than your ordinary Summer romance novel.